Offers bipartisan amendment to Interior Appropriations Bill to restore some funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
WASHINGTON – Last night, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill offered by Congressman Charles F. Bass (NH-02) that will help to protect natural resources, increase access to outdoor recreation, and support job creation and economic growth in New Hampshire and other states.
Bass’ amendment, which passed by a voice vote last night, would restore $20 million in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by reducing funding for the Department of the Interior administrative budget. LWCF supports important land conservation programs across the country and this funding restoration will allow critical public lands projects such as land conservation and Forest Legacy Program grants to move forward.
“New Hampshire’s scenic views and natural resources are not only treasures to be shared and protected for future generations, but also a vital part of our economy. Conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund have been instrumental in preserving these open spaces for multiple uses. While my amendment restores a modest amount to the LWCF program, these funds will allow ongoing land conservation projects to move forward and not be stalled, and more importantly, will support our economy and job creation.”
According to the Outdoor Industry Foundation, active outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking, camping, or wildlife viewing supports 53,000 jobs in New Hampshire and produces nearly $4 billion annually in retail sales and services – a significant impact on our state’s economic well-being.
“We applaud Congressman Bass for his leadership in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a critical source of funding for the protection of significant land, water, and recreational resources throughout our region and the nation,” said Susan Arnold, Vice-President for Conservation for the Appalachian Mountain Club.
Jane A. Difley, President/Forester of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, said, “We applaud Congressman Bass for his strong leadership in defending the integrity of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Protecting our state’s land and water has always been something that all New Hampshire citizens agree on, and Congressman Bass is upholding New Hampshire’s proud bipartisan tradition of support for conservation.”
Jim O’Brien, the Executive Director of Conservation NH, said, “The Land and Water Conservation Fund is critical to a number of vital conservation projects in our state. A healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand, and this amendment ensures that our state and nation remain committed to protecting our natural resources for the next generation. We thank Congressman Bass and his colleagues for working across the aisle to restore this important funding.”
Ryan Owens, the Executive Director of the Monadnock Conservancy, said, ““We applaud the efforts of Congressman Bass and his House colleagues to restore partial funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. They have demonstrated their belief, which we share, that protecting open space for clean water and air, healthy outdoor recreation, resilient ecosystems, and quality jobs is not a wasteful luxury but a critical public service.”
In May, Bass spearheaded a bipartisan letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Interior and Environment Appropriations, signed by 150 Members of Congress, to preserve sufficient funding for the LWCF program during the appropriations process.